Would your family be excited to know that all of you could play in the world’s biggest playground? You could even go today and invite your friends. It’s called “Outside in Nature.” For today’s play-of-the-day, I interviewed (by email) Jill Collins from the website On the Beaten Path.
1. Jill, your family spends time outside and goes on all kinds of nature explorations. Was there someone in your family who encouraged that for you?
Both my husband and I were lucky to have parents who made outdoor time part of our childhood thru camping, biking, fishing, and canoeing. We also both grew up in rural Alberta where exploring our natural surroundings was a fact of daily life. For both of us, spending time outside is natural and we continue to encourage each other and our kids to explore nature.
2. Do you remember an exploration from your own childhood?
Gosh, when I think back to my childhood explorations there is one that comes to mind more than any other. Me and one of my classmates lived close to each other and our houses were adjacent to a forest. He and I would spend hours cutting trails and making forts in the wild forest. I remember feeling free and empowered to have a space that I could navigate and learn from without any inhibitions. Every now and then I feel the same freedom and joy while in the back country. It is pretty powerful feeling.
3. In your own children, what benefits have you seen from this time in nature?
By far the greatest benefit I see is with their physical and emotional development. They are fit kids and have strong bodies from all the hiking, riding, climbing…(the list goes on) that we do. They are in complete control of their movements, are agile, and have excellent cardio. Emotionally they are mature, aware of their place in this big world, understand life cycles, and are compassionate, kind kids. Spending time in nature and exploring outside absolutely contributed to their development. My favorite phrase to tell parents, “Nature is the largest classroom you and your child will ever experience.” See you “on the beaten path.”
It would be fun to connect on the beaten path. Speaking of paths, did you know that time in nature helps kids create thinking paths and channels in the brain? Nature is a playground/classroom for discovering, exploring, solving problems, moving, observing, sorting things into groups, putting events in order, listening, and more kindergarten readiness and early learning skills. Time in nature can encourage children’s creativity and connections to self and others.
Wherever in the world your family lives, can you enjoy some time in the biggest classroom and playground called Nature?